Gluten: The Whole Story

Posted January 6th, 2011 in Recent News.

Experience Life MagazineGluten troubles were once thought to be a problem primarily for those with celiac disease. But recent research indicates that gluten-related disorders extend to a far broader population, and affect far more than the digestive system.

By Catherine Guthrie / November 2010

Duck through the doorway of Sweet Christine’s Bakery in Kennett Square, Pa., and you’re enveloped by the sights and smells of a classic neighborhood bakery. But what makes this bakery unusual is that everything from vanilla cupcakes to chewy chocolate-chip cookies to baguettes is gluten-free, baked with ingredients such as brown rice flour and tapioca, rather than wheat. As a result, the bakery has become a safe haven for people with both celiac disease and gluten intolerances.

Lisa Stevens, 41, the bakery’s wholesale manager, spent years struggling with digestive issues before she learned she had a problem with gluten nearly four years ago: “I was always the little girl with the tummy ache,” Stevens recalls. But, as she grew older, her ills spread beyond her belly. In her 20s, she was plagued by debilitating headaches, joint pain and fatigue. “I could hardly get out of bed in the morning,” she says. “I was 25 but felt 85.”

She bounced from doctor to doctor with no diagnosis. Finally, a friend with celiac disease insisted Stevens experiment by cutting gluten from her diet. Within two weeks of going gluten-free, her stomach stopped hurting after meals — a first. Within a few short months, her fatigue, joint pain and headaches all vanished. Testing confirmed her suspicion — gluten was the guilty party. But Stevens doesn’t have celiac disease; she has an intolerance to gluten, an increasingly common diagnosis.

As scientists chip away at the mountain of health problems caused by the modern American diet, a troubling finding is emerging. Gluten, present in our most popular grains, is being linked not only to celiac disease, an autoimmune disorder affecting one out of 100 Americans, but also to non-celiac gluten intolerance, which afflicts many millions more.

Read the rest of this article at Experience Life Magazine online.

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